By Yinka Kolawole & Naomi Uzor
Against the backdrop of a subdued economic growth in the first quarter of 2018 (Q1’18) as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the federal government to initiate steps to stimulate faster economic growth.
Recall that NBS, on Monday, released a report that the country’s economic growth slowed to 1.95 percent in Q1’18 from 2.11 percent in Q4’17.
Reacting to the development in a conversation with Vanguard, President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said the GDP performance shows that the economy maintained positive growth trend in Q1’18 even though it declined by 0.16 percentage point when compared with the revised growth rate recorded in Q4’17.
He, however, declared that the government needed to take some steps to keep the economy on a sustained growth path.
He stated: “In light of the country’s quest to further sustain this positive growth path as enunciated in the 2018 budget with a growth target of 3.5 percent, we recommend that the government should do the following to stimulate faster economic growth: Effectively synthesize monetary and fiscal policies; Federal Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning should further work together in developing policies that will move the non-oil sector forward; offer effective and beneficial stimulus to interest rate sensitive sectors to further propel growth as the economy is still largely static and fragile and urgently requires stimulus; consult with Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to find ways and means of lowering interest rate to prevent the economy from being chocked and the rate of recovery being slowed down.
“Continue to support the intensification of the resource-based industrialization programme which involves the utilization of the country’s abundant natural resources in producing the goods that the country needs. This is a more sustainable and enduring form of industrialization compared with the import-dependent industrialization which has been practised in Nigeria for long. This would also save the country a lot of foreign exchange (forex) currently used in importing raw materials and free funds for government development projects.”
Jacobs also called for deepening of the ongoing backward integration efforts in the agricultural sector to catalyze more industrial input supply from the sector. He said these would free more forex as the importation of primary raw-materials will be reduced.
“Fully operationalize the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) so as to cater for the huge credit needs of the industrial sector and fast-track the implementation of the Moveable Assets Collateral Registry system and; continue to develop industry-support infrastructure so as to fast-track the country’s industrialization efforts,” he added.